Friday I received a Facebook message from an old friend complimenting me on an earlier post. The message was “I still enjoy reading them all even though my loyalties to all the overpaid players has dwindled. Keep ’em coming, Brother!”
My friend is from Cleveland, a city that is still reeling from the defection of reigning NBA MVP LeBron James last summer when he decided to abandon the Cavaliers to play in South Beach for the Miami Heat. The Cavaliers struggled through a lost season this year as the result of it and Cleveland fans rightfully feel bitter about James in particular and professional athletes in general.
Unfortunately players such as Kevin Durant who re-signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder ignoring the bright lights of more high-profile markets are a small minority in today’s day and age. However the lack of loyalty to the fans truly emanates from both management and players as the possibility of an NBA Lockout shows. Both sides of the table only care about bettering their own situations and have no regard for how much it will hurt NBA fans.
How the Association could even contemplate having another work stoppage after it took years to recover from the one that took place during the 1998-1999 campaign is something I can not fathom. It took not only a lot of time but the emergence of the NBA Draft Class of 2003 and the renewal of the rivalry between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers to get the Association thriving again. There are no guarantees that fans will return if they have to sit through an extended work stoppage yet another time.
NBA Commissioner David Stern and the head of the NBA Players Association Billy Hunter are playing with fire and only they have the ability to get both sides to hammer out an agreement before the start of training camp in the fall. If they do not we may once again be subjected to a protracted work stoppage which will be a bad situation for the NBA Owners, players and most especially the fans.